Serious mental illness and physical health problems: a discussion paper

Int J Nurs Stud. 2007 Mar;44(3):457-66. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2006.07.013. Epub 2006 Sep 27.


People with serious mental illness have higher morbidity and mortality rates of chronic diseases than the general population. This discussion paper explores the complex reasons for these disparities in health, such as limitations of health services, the effects of having a serious mental illness, health behaviours and the effects of psychotropic medication. Physical health can be enhanced by improved monitoring and lifestyle interventions initiated at the start of treatment. There are opportunities for mental health nurses to play a significant role in improving both the physical and mental health of people with serious mental illness.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Causality
  • Chronic Disease* / epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease* / nursing
  • Comorbidity
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Exercise
  • Feeding Behavior
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Mass Screening
  • Mental Disorders* / complications
  • Mental Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders* / nursing
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Nurse's Role
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Psychiatric Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / epidemiology
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology